My Specialized e-bike is black as death. A fitting color. I’ll be riding the bike from Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man, via St. John’s up to Ramsey. From there, it’s not far into the mountains, where the Snaefell Mountain Railway crosses the road. Continuing south, I eventually come back to Douglas. In the end, I will have covered exactly 60.72 kilometers. My route follows that of the Tourist Trophy – the Verdun of motorsport. 267 dead. So far. Because the dying, that much is certain, will continue. Six bikers bit the dust last year alone. Two of them riding solo. Four in sidecars. This year it was “only” one. A person who enters this race could easily be considered to have a death wish.
I love motorsport. Both automobile racing and motorcycles. If there was no motor racing, I wouldn’t have wanted to be born. I’ve been to Le Mans. I’ve been to Indianapolis. I’ve been to Monaco. My Triple Crown. But I’ve never been to the Isle of Man, to the most dangerous motorsport event in the world. Because I’ve never wanted to see the carnage up close. Of course, I would love to see those guys blasting through the villages at 290 km/h, in between all the curbs, houses and telephone poles. It looks wild enough on YouTube. In reality, however, the experience must be an eye-opener for those of us who have been incurably afflicted with the racing virus. You would be witness to how the madness transcends itself, so to speak – with even more madness. Crazy! But I would never want to see one of those daredevils get knocked down by a bump in the road, smash against the next concrete wall and lie there motionless because all the bones in his body have been shattered and his insides have been turned to pulp, his skull nothing but mush inside and the blood running out of the bottom of his helmet.